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Virginia Journal of Education

10 Minutes with…Vickie Barton

   Library Media Specialist/Linwood Holton Governor’s School Facilitator
Local Assn.:  Dickenson Education Association
Years worked in education:  20 years

What is a typical school day like for you?
It starts no later than 8 a.m., when I arrive at school, boot up my computer, review the principal’s morning report, and begin my daily routine. The morning report gives the faculty an update on activities scheduled for that day, announcements, meetings and bus duty schedules. 

When the first block bell rings at 8:30, students come into the library for online SVETN (Southwest Virginia Education and Training Network) or Governor’s School classes. I usually have the same students taking different courses for three and four blocks each day, typically seniors taking online classes for high school and/or college credits. I oversee their tests and review lab reports and essays before they submit them to their instructors.

What do you like about your job?
I love it! I find my job refreshing and rewarding, and have come to love the endeavors and accomplishments of my former and current students the most. As a former classroom English teacher, I find it greatly rewarding when a graduate comes back for a visit and tells me how successful he or she is. They almost always express their sincere appreciation for the help and encouragement they received while at our school. It’s especially nice when I see one of my former students on a billboard, advertising their profession, and know that I helped play an important role in their career. 

Over the years I’ve kept all the thank-you cards, graduation announcements, wedding invitations, and birth announcements.
I thoroughly enjoy everything about my job!

What is hard about your job?
My job as a high school library media specialist is not hard and yet not easy. Some days are hectic beyond belief. A normal workday consists of cataloguing, shelving, and checking books and materials in and out. I’m a reading fanatic anyway and doing all the usual activities and duties as the librarian is right where I want to be.

What are some of the most fun and unusual things that have happened on the job?
I just love it when a student slips up and calls me Mom, Mommaw or Nana (my granddaughters call me Nana). Sometimes it’s Ms. B or Nana Cheer (I coach varsity football cheer). I know they’re subconsciously thinking about their mothers or grandmothers, and family is very important to me.

It’s really funny when my nephews speak to me in the hallway. They find it very difficult to call me Ms. Barton and not Aunt Vickie.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you?
Being a member has been very beneficial to me, beginning with all the information, bulletins, emails and magazines I receive. 

I’ll never forget how I first became a member of the DEA, VEA and NEA. I’d been a substitute teacher for over a month, teaching English in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades. I was also doing the last semester of my master’s and had my interview for the full-time position. On February 1, 1993, I signed my contract, and as soon as I got back to the school that morning the building rep brought me the membership application. I had no idea what the Association was or what it was all about. When I could, I went to the principal and asked him about it. He immediately told me to fill it out and that membership would be beneficial for my career success.

For many years I was just another member and not active in the Association. After my husband passed away in 2007, one of my friends and colleagues invited me to participate in the meetings and become more involved. Now, I’m in my second time around as the president of the Dickenson Education Association. 

Being a member gives me a feeling of accomplishment and I strive to be there for my members and to help my Association to grow.



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